Sunday, October 30, 2005

you don't win friends with salad or steak

Saturday night, my mother organised to have a dinner with family friends to celebrate my engagement and birthday. Of course this was two months after the fact and somehow also involved me having to cook for 12 people. The largest group i've ever cooked for was 8 and that was fucking hard. But that time i learnt lessons, one of which was never do it again. When i explained this to my mother, she got her ethnic on and made me feel guilty in two languages.
Entree - plain spaghetti with napolitatna sauce. The sauce was made during the day and the pasta bought. you only need a big pot for water and small pot to reheat the sauce. Hints i've picked up about sauce
- keep it plain, me and emma make big batches and freeze little containers of it
- there is nothing stopping you from chopping other bits (vegies or meats) and adding them on the day before serving them. So the same sauce can be used with chicken on monday, eggplant on tuesday, olives and sun dried tomatoes wednesday, etc
- use alot of olive oil, it gives it a nice silky body. i'm lucky because my dad has a bunch of olive trees on his farm and we make our own.
- if you use fresh tomatoes that aren't exactly ripe, add pinches of sugar. I sometimes do this with canned tomatoes too.
So the entree only took two hot plates and little prep time (on the night).

For the main I did a surf and turf using an outdoor bbq, which gave me plenty of room to do all the steaks at once. I was convinced, by others, to do fillet mignon, which i'll never do again because wrapping those fillets with bacon took ages (ahead of time) and necessitated a last minute dash to the shops to get more bacon. The steaks were topped with skewered sweet chilli marinated prawns (3 large prawns each skewered using two parrallel skewers, it looked cool). Steaks take about 8-10 minutes to do. In theory.
On the night, while the steaks rested i quickly cooked the prawns, then plated everything and served. I was quickly cleaning the bbq when people started coming outside "I like mine welldone" "Its still red inside" "Bit more".
Ah fuck, its supposed to be pink inside, its supposed to be medium rare. Sigh. Sorry to freak out vegetarians, but the flavour is in the fat and blood - overcook and the blood disapperas and the fat is just char.
Usually I would have done a roast, but considering that a serve of roast should be about 250-350 grams, that would be a 3.6kg peice of meat (to feed everyone) which would have taken ages to cook (45minutes per .5kg, i think) and it would mean that the whole oven would have been taken up with meat, with no room for vegetables. Fish is out of the question for more than 6 people and I don't like cooking chicken. That's why i did steaks. And it bit me in the ass. Anyway, served with the steaks was a whole batch of roast vegetables (out of the way in the oven and with little prep work needed). Because I have an aversion to room temperature foods, i don't eat or prepare salad. Someone else did that. My shame at 'stuffing' up the main course was dampered by opening up some cabernets and doing damage to my dwindling wine cellar.
Dessert was handled by Emma, dishing out a tiramisu, which i was told rocked. (I don't actually do dessert either because i pretty much only eat ice cream - i don't do cake). After cleaning up, which always sucks when you are drunk, me and emma went to a 30th, which always rule when you are drunk. So it evens out.
Next time, when it comes to large dinners, I'm doing a massive lasagne because you can't go wrong there. I hope.

1 comment:

Tonia said...

Your food posts alway make me hungry, they sound so nice - I think you should do barbeque next Supanova, so everyone doesn't have to eat crappy pizza.